An upcoming documentary spotlighting the potentially unethical practices used in Cambodian adoptions will explore again whether Angelina Jolie’s son Maddox ‘may have been stolen from his birth family’.
Jolie, 46, adopted Maddox from Cambodia in 2002 with the help of adoption agent Lauryn Galindo, who was jailed in 2004 for ‘falsifying documents to obtain US visas for orphans’.
21-year-old filmmaker Elizabeth Jacobs – whose parents also used Galindo to facilitate their child’s adoption from Cambodia – will revisit the claim that ‘poor Cambodian families are preyed on by baby recruiters’ in her forthcoming documentary, The Stolen Children.
Documentary: An upcoming documentary spotlighting the potentially unethical practices used in Cambodian adoptions will explore whether Angelina Jolie’s son Maddox ‘may have been stolen from birth family’ (Jolie pictured with daughter Zahara and son Maddox in 2020)
The Sun has revealed that Jacobs, who is a film and marketing student at the University of Massachusetts, is determined to uncover the truth about Galindo’s adoptions.
The paper further reports that between 1997 and 2001 half of adoptions from Cambodia to the US – approximately 800 out of 1600 – went through Galindo.
At the time, Galindo and her sister Lynn Devin ran an adoption agency called Seattle International Adoptions, and shortly after Jolie adopted her son Maddox, Galindo and Devin faced criminal charges.
Devin faced a $150,000 fine while Galindo was jailed for falsifying names, birth dates and places of birth of Cambodian children she helped to place with US families two years after Jolie and her then-husband Billy Bob Thornton took full custody of Maddox.
Adoption: Jolie, 46, adopted Maddox from Cambodia in 2002 with the help of adoption agent Lauryn Galindo, who was jailed in 2004 for ‘falsifying documents to obtain US visas for orphans’ (pictured 2003)
When the scandal was exposed, the U.S. government and several other countries shut down adoptions from Cambodia, with Jolie saying she knew nothing of the illegal trade. There is no evidence Maddox was not an orphan.
Jolie insisted at the time that she went to ‘great lengths to ensure Maddox did not have a living birth-mother in Cambodia’ and that she would ‘never rob a mother of her child.’
Galindo told The Sun in a recent statement that she would be happy to answer any questions Jacob may have, but insisted the young filmmaker has not reached out to her yet.
She denied that any of her practices had ever been illegal, hailing herself as ‘a champion of children’.
Galindo added she has ‘no reason to believe’ that Maddox’s adoption was unethical and seemingly confirmed that she had worked with Jolie on the process, saying she ‘knew’ that Angelina was in Namibia at the time filming Beyond Borders and adding that there was ‘no interference’ by Jolie.
Jacobs also spoke to the paper, saying she is concerned Galindo’s practices were fraudulent, and is ‘determined’ to talk about the ‘scandal’ surrounding adoptions in Cambodia.
Great lengths: Jolie insisted at the time that she went to ‘great lengths to ensure Maddox did not have a living birth-mother in Cambodia’ and that she would ‘never rob a mother of her child’ (pictured 2002)
MailOnline has reached representatives for Jolie and Jacobs for comment.
Jacobs’ parents Karen, 60, and Erich, 56, kept their adoption documents, however only looked through them last year, discovering Galindo’s name stamped across papers.
According to Jacobs, the documents show discrepancies, with orphanage papers showing one birth date and government documents showing another.
Karen insists Galindo never disclosed any information to her regarding Jacobs’ real parents, telling Karen they perished in a flood.
Restrictions: At the time of Maddox’s adoption, the US had imposed tougher restrictions on adopting children from Cambodia due to trafficking fears (pictured: 2004)
Jolie and her ex-husband Brad Pitt share joint custody of their six children, twins Vivienne and Knox, 12, Shiloh, 15, Maddox, 19, Zahara, 16, and Pax, 17.
Maddox was adopted from an orphanage in Cambodia, while Jolie adopted Zahara in Ethiopia and Pax in Vietnam.
In 2017 a Cambodian aid worker claimed the documentation Jolie used to adopt her eldest son contained false information.
Mounh Sarath, 53, wrote that he was the father of Maddox Jolie-Pitt on the boy’s adoption papers in order to speed up the process of passing him into Jolie’s care in 2003.
Joint custody: Jolie and her ex-husband Brad Pitt share joint custody of their six children, twins Vivienne and Knox, 12, Shiloh, 15, Maddox, 19, Zahara, 16, and Pax, 17 (pictured together with Maddox in 2016)
Despite the claims there is no suggestion that Jolie nor her then husband, Billy Bob Thornton, who adopted Maddox too, knew that Sarath did as he alleges.
At the time of Maddox’s adoption, the US had imposed tougher restrictions on adopting children from Cambodia due to trafficking fears.
That same year, the actress directed First They Killed My Father, a movie about the 1975 to 1979 genocide of 1.7 million Cambodians during communist dictator Pol Pot’s regime.
Most died from either starvation, disease or were killed in mass executions, and Jolie admitted making the film had made her better understand her son’s country of birth.
She said: ‘This country means a great deal to me, this country has been through so much. This war affected every single individual here, and I wanted to understand myself.
‘I don’t know much of Maddox’s birth parents, but I believe they would have gone through this war.’
Doting mother: Jolie is notoriously private when it comes to her children (pictured: Jolie with children Vivienne and Knox, Shiloh, Maddox, Zahara and Pax in 2017)